About Secrets of Paris

American-born travel journalist and guidebook author Heather Stimmler-Hall created the Secrets of Paris in 1999 to share the hidden side of the City of Light. Discover what you've been missing:

* Custom Travel Content 
* Free Paris Resource Guide
* Calendar of interesting Paris events
* Private Tours
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Videos

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here


Calendar of Paris Events

October 8-12
The theme for the 81st annual Fête des Vendanges, the grape harvest festival, is Montmartre Fête les Poètes. Events include a parade, grape stomping, the food & wine tasting village, cooking demos, live music, and tons of other fun stuff. Check out the entire program, the online boutique (get your commemorative bottles of wine!) and other info about the festival here.

October 12 
Stock up on fall reading material for a handful of euros and support the English-language SOS Helpline at their Autumn Book Sale today from noon-4pm at Orrick Law Offices (31 ave Pierre Ière de Serbie, 16th, M° Alma-Marceau). Paperbacks €1, hardcovers €2, all categories for adults and kids, as well as bake sale items. Those who want to donate books can drop them off during the sale.

October 16-17
Blending culture with social, Sinfonietta Paris brings you an evening of Mendelssohn and Brahms exquisitely performed by a brilliant ensemble of young professional musicians. At the Institut FInlandais (Latin Quarter, 60 rue des Ecoles, 5th) from 8-11pm. Tickets €25 (wine and hors d'oeuvres included). The address will be mailed once confirmed; the performance on the 4th December is in the 17th; on the 5th December it's in the 1st. Register on the website; places limited. 

Secrets of Paris gives 10% of all tour fees
to the French food bank, Les Restos du Coeur

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Thursday
Oct012009

Friday Night Vintage Soirée

Article and photos by Lisa Molle Troyer

Back in June, I was digging around for somewhere new to go dancing and unearthed a real gem: Night & Day, the first of a series (if it went well) of "vintage" events hosted by DJs Bart&Baker and the Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel. The event was designed to bring back the glamorous, jazzy, lounge-y glory days of Paris' Left Bank, and I have to say it did a good job without taking itself too terribly seriously. It's been a while since June, but I've been saving this until I knew when and if there was going to be a sequel, and now I know: Friday, October 2.

As I said, I went for the dancing, and there was plenty of it despite the tiny dance floor. Of course as always in Paris, ladies must remember to BYOP for swing dancing, since partners are hard to come by if you don't know anyone. My intrepid little party didn't make it in time for the lesson, but I saw a video afterward that explained some of the antics we saw – apparently they showed everyone a relatively simple but goofy Charleston-inspired dance routine, rather than just trying to teach some basic steps. In fact, even people who never go early to take the lesson would probably enjoy it, as long as they were willing to look a little silly in good company.

There was a lot more going on than just dancing, though. The R'Yves bar area is divided up into several sections, including restaurant seating (reserving a table for dinner is the only way to be sure you can sit), a small stage and a tiny piano bar, as well as a lounge area with nifty 70's jetsetter decor that will be hosting vintage speed dating this time (sip a "Tea Martini" while looking for the love of your life; sign up at anachrolove@gmail.com). At the first party, the DJ sets and dancing were interspersed with a couple of burlesque acts, a vintage fan dance and some live piano music. This time, the entertainment will feature a tap dancer who's part of STOMP, a live band and screenings of experimental vintage films (whatever exactly that means). And if that's still not enough, you can even make a night of it by taking the Marriott up on their dinner + room + breakfast offer (getting into the party itself is free).

One of the best parts about the first Night & Day was that just about everyone made some attempt at period dress; there were even a few stunners in feathered headpieces and floor-length sequined getups. In fact, if anything you'd probably feel out of place in modern street clothes, so break out your best duds – any relatively swanky look from about 1920 to 1960 would fit in just fine. Take a look at the pictures on the event's site below if you need some inspiration.

My one major complaint last time was that the music was too loud (as in utterly deafening), but apparently I'm not the only one who complained, and they've promised to dial it back this time. Which means that my only word of warning at this point is: dance in the bar only, and not in the hotel lobby, because the otherwise accommodating staff WILL kick you out.

Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel
17 Boulevard Saint-Jacques, 14th
Saint-Jacques

Night & Day event website.

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